Spray Foam Insulation

5 Things to Know About Spray Foam Insulation

When it comes to insulation, there are many options available on the market. But if you’re looking for an effective and long-lasting solution, spray foam insulation is the way to go. This type of insulation is growing in popularity due to its many benefits, which include its ability to seal tight spaces, its high R-value (which means it’s great at insulating), and its environmental friendliness. If you’re considering spray foam insulation for your home or office, here are five things you should know before making a decision.

What is Spray Foam Insulation?

Spray Foam Insulation
Spray Foam Insulation being installed in attic space

Spray foam insulation is a type of insulating material that is sprayed onto a surface to provide a barrier against heat loss or heat gain. It can be used on both walls and ceilings, and is often used in crawl spaces, basements, and attics as well.

It is made up of two main ingredients: polyurethane and isocyanate. When mixed together, these ingredients work to expand to fill in any voids or cracks in the surface being sprayed. This expansion helps to create an airtight seal that prevents heat from escaping or entering the space.

Spray foam is among the more effective types of insulation, especially when compared to cellulose and fiberglass, as it does not settle over time in the way fiberglass does. Furthermore, spray foam can help make your space more energy efficient, in turn reducing heating and cooling costs.

Additionally, it provides a higher R-value than other types of insulation. The higher R-value makes SPF better at resisting heat flow. This makes it an excellent choice for use in areas where extreme temperatures are common, such as attics and crawlspaces.

The Different Types of Spray Foam Insulation

There are two main types of spray foam insulation you need to know about: closed-cell and open-cell. Closed-cell spray foam is the most common type used in residential and commercial construction. It has a higher R-value per inch than open-cell spray foam, meaning it provides better insulation. It also forms a tight seal against air and moisture, making it ideal for use in areas where leaks or drafts could be a problem.

Open-cell spray foam has a lower R-value per inch than closed-cell spray foam, but it’s also much more permeable. This means that it allows water vapor to pass through more easily, which can be helpful in some situations (like if you’re trying to prevent condensation on cold surfaces). However, it also means that open-cell spray foam is less effective at blocking out unwanted noise and heat transfer.

Low GWP foam is available in both open-cell and closed-cell varieties. Low GWP foam has a reduced global warming potential.

How to Install Spray Foam Insulation

Here are some basics to know when it comes to installation:

1. Choose the Right Location

Consider both the climate and the type of building you’re working with. For example, if you live in a warm climate, you’ll want to avoid installing spray foam insulation in an attic or other enclosed space that could cause the material to overheat and degrade.

2. Prepare the Area

Before mixing and applying foam, it’s important to thoroughly clean and prepare the entire area where you’ll be using the spray foam. This includes removing any dust, debris, or dirt that could prevent the material from adhering properly. Once the area is clean, make sure it’s dry before proceeding.

3. Mix the Foam Insulation Material

Next, it’s time to mix together the components of your spray foam. This typically involves combining a liquid resin with a gas activator, which will start the chemical reaction that causes the material to expand and harden. Be sure to follow all manufacturer instructions when mixing your particular components.

4. Apply the Foam Insulation

Once the insulation material is mixed and ready to go, it’s time for application. This can be done with a traditional sprayer or a handheld spray foam gun. Be sure to work quickly and evenly, as the material will begin expanding almost immediately.

5. Let the Foam Insulation Cure

After the spray foam insulation is applied, it’s important to give it the appropriate amount of time it needs to properly cure before moving on. This typically involves a 24-hour wait for the material to completely harden. Once cured, you can then proceed with any additional steps needed to complete your project, such as cutting.

How Long Does Spray Foam Insulation Last?

When making any sort of adjustments to a home or office space, it is important of course to know how long those adjustment will last. Spray foam insulation is a tremendous insulation type, as it has a very long lifespan, typically lasting usually around 50 years.

How to Buy Spray Foam Insulation

There are a few things you want to keep in mind when shopping for spray foam insulation. First, you’ll need to decide what type of insulation you need. Second, you’ll need to determine how much insulation you need.

Type of insulation:

Closed-cell spray foam has a higher density and is heavier than open-cell spray foam. It is also the more expensive option. Open-cell spray foam on the other hand is less dense and lighter than closed-cell spray foam. It is also more affordable.

How much insulation is necessary?

The amount of insulation you need depends on a number of factors, such as the amount of square footage you want to insulate, the climate you live in and the R-value of the product you choose. Remember, R-value is a measure of thermal resistance.

Conclusion

Spray foam insulation is an excellent option for those looking to add insulation to either a residential or commercial space. It is important to know a few things about SPF insulation before you start, however, including the different types of spray foam insulation, how much it costs, and how long it lasts. With this information in hand, you can make an informed decision about whether or not spray foam insulation is right for your space.

Spray Foam Insulation

Maximum Safety Fireblock Low Expansion Foam

Insulating your home or building is a top priority whether you’re starting a new project or upgrading an existing structure. Fireblock foam is a low expansion foam that takes this just a step further. In addition to reducing energy loss and costs, it also works to limit the spread of flames, toxic smoke, and harmful gasses.

How Does Fireblock Foam Work?

The foam is designed to expand ever so slightly to properly fill in cracks and gaps in areas where it is required. The expansion alone makes it a much more effective tool for fire blocking than other standard materials. Additionally, the bright orange color provides clear visibility to inspectors as a Type V construction approved fireblock foam. Once bonded, it blocks air from entering the intended space, helping to fend off the free passage of smoke, flames, and other by-products of combustion between floors, rooms, and wall cavities.

fireblock foam

Fireblock foam is a low expansion foam that protects residential and commercial spaces from smoke, flames, and other by-products of combustion between floors, rooms, and wall cavities.

Properly Sealing with Low Expansion Foam

When working with polyurethane foam or other sealants, be sure to wear eye and skin protectants. This includes goggles or protective glasses with shields, nitrile gloves, and protective clothing. Once ready, make sure to apply the foam in a space that is well-ventilated and with certified respiratory protection or a powered air purifying respirator (PAPR). Each manufacturer of polyurethane sealants creates a detailed Safety Data Sheet (SDS) with specifics that should be carefully read before applying foam.

Fireblock foam is typically applied with a foam gun or straw. When applied, it is:

  • Tack-free in approximately five minutes
  • Cuttable in approximately one hour
  • Fully cured in 12-24 hours

To achieve the best results, make sure the foam being used is ICC compliant for fire blocking, and has been tested with modified ASTM-814 and UL-1715. Fireblock foam that meets these requirements withstand the pressure of flames more than twice as long as other competing foams, providing precious additional seconds to a dangerous situation.

low gwp spray foam

Understanding Low GWP Spray Foam

Spray foam insulation has been used to insulate both commercial and residential spaces for decades. This form of insulation traditionally contains blowing agents called hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), which allow the polyurethane to change from a solid into foam, providing the insulation with both its form and R-value. However, this heat trapping chemical also contributes to the depletion of the earth’s protective ozone layer. When insulating, low gwp spray foam provides the same quality of protection, without the added harmful emissions.

Measuring Global Warming Potential (GWP)

Across much of North America, regulators have introduced requirements to gradually eliminate HFCs, and limit their use, thus reducing their contribution to climate change. The measurement basis for these regulations is called Global Warming Potential (GWP). With carbon dioxide as the reference gas (assigned the number 1), researchers compare the impact different gasses have on the atmosphere. The higher the GWP number, the greater the possibility of a gas warming the earth in comparison to carbon dioxide.

Low GWP Spray Foam

While the HFCs in traditional spray foam lend to exceptional form and R-values, even a miniscule amount being released into the atmosphere can have significant consequences on the ozone layer, and rising sea levels to name a few. Low gwp spray foam provides the same excellent insulation without harmful HFCs. Not only does this foam meet changing government requirement, these foam systems also:

  • Deliver a consistent stream of polyurethane foam
  • Contain an R-Value of 6.6
  • Cure in approximately 1 hour
  • Great for sealing attic, crawl space, floors, ceiling, walls, and basement

Reducing the global warming potential of the substances we use in building projects will help reduce the impact we are having on our atmosphere. Contractors, home, and building owners can now feel confident when using low gwp foam to seal and insulate spaces.

Spray Foam Insulation

Conservation Kits Provide Instant Savings

As the climate crisis on our planet has become a climate emergency, a lot of us are looking for different ways to improve our carbon footprint. While this may initially seem like a daunting and expensive task, it truly isn’t. There are many small ways to start saving both energy and water around your home or building that won’t break the bank. Conservation kits are prepared with these types of savings in mind, and the items they contain provide instant savings once installed.

Improving Energy Efficiency

According to Time.com, “On average, remote workers have seen a $40-50 monthly increase in their energy costs—or as much as $600 a year.” With energy bills steadily on the rise, employing measures that can produce savings right away is even more pressing. Common items you’ll find in conservation kits include:

  • LED Light Bulbs, which use up to 80% less energy than their incandescent counterparts
  • Closed Cell Foam to limit drafts and heat from entering through doors
  • Outlet Gaskets that block air leaks from outlets
  • Rope caulk to seal air from entering through windows
tidy room filled with furnitures

Help Me Save Water

Each day, the average home in the United States uses approximately 80-100 gallons of water at home. A surprising number, right? When you consider the amount of times we wash our hands and dishes, flush the toilets, and even shower, this number really begins to take shape. Let’s take a step back, and see how we can bring this number down.

  • Low flow aerators reduce the amount (but not the pressure) of water coming from faucets. Their flow rates range from 0.5-2.0 gallons of water per minute.
  • Low flow shower heads follow this same concept, except with the shower. Many of these shower heads are also self-cleaning.
  • A toilet tank bank is placed in the toilet tank to limit the amount of water used per flush.
  • Outdoor water savers allow you to expand water savings outside of the home and into your gardens.

Saving energy and water at home, or in your building, can actually be quite simple. With a few quick installations of items found in conservation kits you can be well on your way to helping the climate and your wallet at the same time.

Spray Foam Insulation

4 Tools in Energy Efficiency Kits That Also Keep You Warm

Brown Wooden House during Snow

With the changing seasons, a lot of us find ourselves playing the temperature game with the thermostat. This constant battle not only wreaks havoc on the energy usage, but the bills as well. Keep things warm inside, and the chill on the outside with energy efficiency kits. These kits – like a swiss army knife for combating drafts – are packed with supplies that properly insulate doors, windows, and other unintentional air entryways.

Foam Switch Gaskets, Outlet Gaskets, and Child Safety Caps

Unless every outlet is in use all the time (and I hope not, cause phantom energy loss can account for 5% of your home’s energy usage), those tiny slits in the wall are letting outside air slowly creep into your home. Along with outlets, the surrounding area behind the outlet and light switch plates also offer a way in for air. These leaks make the house colder than it should be and can cause energy loss of up to 20%.

Plastic Window Kit

Windows can let air in even when closed, but cold weather also makes them vulnerable to frost build-up and condensation. Plastic window kits, also known as shrink and seal window kits or window insulation kits, are installed over the entire window to provide airtight insulation from outside air. Kits are installed from the inside, and require a hair dryer (or some form of blowing heat) to “shrink and seal” film over the window. This method of insulation works on any type of window, is easy on the budget, and can increase R-Value (insulation level) by up to 90%.

Rope Caulk

Nearly every energy conservation kit features rope caulk, a substance is so easy to install a 5-year old could do it (we’re not kidding, just watch). Rope caulk is primarily used to combat cracks, gaps, and openings of every kind. Simply clean the area being sealed (remove dust, dirt, etc.), peel of the amount needed, and stick it into the open area. I think of it as 2-minute insulation.

The benefits of rope caulk don’t stop at insulation:

  • It’s cheap!
  • It’s durable through most weather conditions, so you don’t have to worry about it cracking during cold months
  • Just as easy as it is to install is how easy it is to remove (and clean up after), making this an easy insulation answer for renters

Door and Window Foam Tape

Foam tape is best used with sliding or swinging doors and windows. The tape blocks outside air by sealing the open space between the edges/side of doors and windows. Foam tape installs easily and is very cost effective.

Putting energy efficiency kits to good use – the gaskets, child safety caps, plastic window kits, rope caulk, and foam tape – will go a long way towards stabilizing the temperature in your home, saving energy and preventing energy loss, and allow you to subtract a few dollars from that energy bill.

Spray Foam Insulation

Benefits of Q-Lon Door Seal Installation

Q-Lon Door Kits
Q-Lon Door Kits

The door of a home is where we let in and welcome family and friends. Unfortunately, it’s also where we let in air leaks, insects and moisture. Unlike loved ones, these can come into the home through doors even when they’re closed. The older the home, the more likely it is that you have a door (or a few) that could benefit from being properly sealed. Installing a q-lon door seal is a quick and cost-effective way to solve these problems, save energy, and ultimately lower energy bills.

Passing the Test

The simplest way to check for air leaks is to look at the door during daylight hours. If you see sunlight peeking through the door, it needs to be sealed. If you notice moisture at the door when it rains, it needs to be sealed. If by chance, you catch an insect trying to sneak into the home, the door needs to be sealed.

Sealing Gaps

Q-lon is designed specifically to be used on the top and sides of doors. It seals gaps that measure up to 1/2″ in size. If your air leak is smaller, no worries. A q-lon door seal can be cut to fit smaller doors and seal smaller spaces. It is made up of polyethylene-clad urethane foam, and contains a special backing for use on specific door types. The exact one you’ll need depends on what the door you’re sealing is made up of:

  • Metal doors – Use the aluminum q-lon weatherstrip.
  • Wood doors – Use the wooden q-lon weatherstrip.
  • Vinyl – Use the vinyl (PVC) q-lon weathertrip. This is the most commonly used type for residential doors.

Comfort and Savings

If you left the oven door open while baking, it would take considerably longer to reach the right temperature. The same concept can be applied to all doors. When inside air leaks out, and outside air comes in, regulating the temperature becomes increasingly difficult. Installing a q-lon door seal gives you back some of that control. It does so without you having to spend hundreds, or even over a thousand, on a replacement door. The material is industrial-grade, strong enough to seal gaps for years, and costs under $13 a piece. Installing this weatherstrip lets you start realizing savings without having to reach into your savings to get it done.

Narrow Q-Lon Door Weatherstripping Kit with Vinyl Carrier - Brown DS060-BR-N
Narrow Q-Lon Door Weatherstripping Kit with Vinyl Carrier – Brown DS060-BR-N

Q-Lon Door Kit with Vinyl Carrier Door Weatherstripping White
Q-Lon Door Kit with Vinyl Carrier Door Weatherstripping White

Q-Lon Door Kit with Aluminum Carrier Door Weatherstripping Brown
Q-Lon Door Kit with Aluminum Carrier Brown

Spray Foam Insulation

Cost Effective and Easy to Install Weatherization Options

To prevent cold air from entering your home during winter, and hot air from flowing in during summer, you need to close up the gaps in your windows to create a tight seal.

Not only will your home feel more comfortable, you will also lower your monthly energy costs with these inexpensive window weatherization tools.

Rope Caulk

Caulking is a method of weatherstripping that targets the crack, gap, hole, or opening that allows air to seep through. Basically it’s like sticking silly putty in the exposed area to seal it off. However, rope caulk provides a better stick, can weatherproof windows in any weather condition, and blends in with your decor. rope tape

Installation:

  • Clean, clean, clean the area where caulk will be used.
  • Peel of a lay of the rope caulk “beads” and divide it based on how much you need.
  • Press to seal.

Foam Tape

Foam tape is used to seal windows that slide or swing. It sticks to the edges or bottoms of windows to prevent air leakage when windows are closed.

Installation: Foam tape is easy to install and at less than $3 it is an inexpensive weatherization solution.foam tape

  • First, clean and dry the area  where the tape will be applied. If the area is dirty, wet, and/or cold, the tape won’t stick properly or it will easily loose its stickiness factor. It must be more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cut the amount of foam tape needed based on the length of window sides/bottom.
  • Remove the adhesive backing then press the tape into place to cover the area in need of sealing.

Shrink and Seal Window Kit

If you have scissors, a blow dryer, and $4 you can easily weatherproof windows with a Shrink and Seal Window kit. This kit will seal the whole window from the inside and increase the R-value, or insulating power, of the window by as much as 90%.

Installation: window kit

  • Again, you need to clean and dry the area before applying any sealing. You should also clean the insides of windows because you won’t be able to clean that area again until you remove the shrink film.
  • Cut the amount of shrink film needed. Cut enough film to cover the entire window (including some of the frame area).
  • Remove the backing from one side of the two-sided tape and stick it to the top, bottom, and sides of the window. After installing the tape, remove the adhesive backing from the other side.
  • Apply the shrink film around the window, gently stretching it as you work your way from one corner of the window to the other.
  • With the blow dryer on the highest setting, slowly move the dryer across the film to tighten it over the window. Don’t stand too close to the window while doing this, otherwise you’ll melt the shrink film.
  • Trim any film that’s left over.

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Spray Foam Insulation

Attic Stair Covers Save Energy and Improve Air Quality

Most attics are not well insulated, which depending on the time of year, causes them to be either extremely hot or attic stair cover1extremely cold. Attic doors are also not generally insulated, which allows for a tremendous amount of energy loss throughout the year. Even the tiniest gap around the attic door perimeter — as small as 1/32 (0.08 cm) — is like leaving a 5-square inch opening or window open all year!

Insulating the attic door with an attic stair cover is a light-weight, simple, and cost-effective way to reduce the amount of unwanted air infiltration from the attic into the home. It also improves indoor air quality by reducing allergen and dust flow from the attic.

The Attic Tent is easy to install. You just need to secure the Attic Tent in place with staples to the surface, and then add a bead of silicone caulk around the seam to create an airtight seal. It  provides an R-value of 6.6 and has been proven to reduce air transfer up to 76%. This means, your Attic Tent will pay for itself in one year, and save you money each year thereafter.

The Battic Door Attic Stair Cover Kit includes the rigid box (stair cover), rubber gasket, a reflective shield and optional R-50 insulation. The stair cover fits between trusses and is available in 3 sizes to fit most pull down ladders.  All kits include durable stair cover and weatherstripping and is easily installed in minutes with no tools. It is made in the USA from recycled materials.

Attic stair covers are an easy, affordable way to save energy and improve the air quality in your home.

Spray Foam Insulation

Backdraft Dampers: A Must Have for Ventilation Systems

Backdraft dampers allow air to efficiently flow through exhaust ducts to the outside, yet prevent the unwanted flow of air into a house when the exhaust fans are off. damper2They stop cold air from coming in, allowing a more comfortable temperature in your home. These dampers are most often used in bathroom exhaust systems, clothes dryer vents, kitchen range hoods and microwaves.

Fantech sensitive spring-loaded backdraft dampers provide a good seal against backdrafts. They are easy to install and work without noise or vibration.

The Cape Damper from Tamarack is made of a metal duct with a fabric sleeve attached. It is a one way air flow valve, designed to overcome the inefficiencies and limitations of traditional gravity or butterfly dampers. It is quiet and can simply be installed in either a vertical or horizontal position.

Either option will help prevent outside air from leaking into your home and allow you to save on energy costs.

Spray Foam Insulation

Use Q-Lon Weatherstrip to Prevent Energy Loss from Doors

Q-Lon Weatherstrip
Q-Lon Weatherstrip

A door’s weather seal can wear out over time, causing cold and costly drafts to flow into your home. A simple way to check if your doors have this problem is through a sight test. While the sun is out, if you can see light coming in through the door when it is closed, you definitely have an air leak on your hands.

You could also use a smoke pencil to identify drafts and air leaks.

Installing a q-lon weatherstrip is beneficial for a number of reasons:

  • Seals up to ½” gaps. Sealing air leaks from the door can reduce home energy loss up to 11%.
  • Reduces energy loss eases the burden on the heating/cooling systems, thus lowering bills.
  • Limits unwanted air exchanges in the home and provides more control over home temperatures.
  • Acts as both a sealant and a door stop.
  • Fits standard doors, but can be cut to fit smaller doors.

This type of door weatherstripping is comprised of polyethylene-clad urethane foam that remains flexible through temperatures as low as minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit. The foam is secured to an aluminum (metal/steel) or vinyl (PVC), carrier. The type of carrier that would be ideal for your home depends on the door that the weatherstrip will be installed on:

  • Aluminum: Heavy duty carrier that is ideal for metal or wood doors.
  • Vinyl: Suitable for use on doors that are not metal, steel, or wood.

Weatherproofing doors with a q-lon weatherstrip is an easy, inexpensive way to save on energy costs for your home.